Transform Your Life with Wholefoods and Balance

0 comments

 

We were lucky enough to spend some time with Sarah Tanner, a public figure and organic fanatic and learn about her journey to wellbeing. It wasn’t plain sailing for Sarah and she underwent a huge amount of personal struggle, one thing led to another, and she began taking a wheatgrass shot every day. That wheatgrass shot changed her life. It was a gateway to a healthier, more holistic, balanced life.

“It’s like when people do ‘no drinking for a month’, and then they can't wait to get a drink. It's too much too quick. Instead, by really gentle with yourself, check in, and that is going to lead to long term change, whether you're trying to be more eco or look at brands and products that you know are more sustainable. It's gradual, and then that's going to be easier to stick to in the long term.”

In our podcast Sarah shares three Good Changes you can make in your life that can transform the way you live.

YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR CHAT WITH SARAH BY CLICKING HERE.

READ THE CHAT HERE:

Good Change

Sarah, I'm curious, could you tell us a bit more of where you grew up? And what got you into health and wellbeing and how that became part of your life?

Sarah

Sure. Well, thank you so much first of all, for having me here today. It's so exciting. And I love sharing my story because you never know what's going to resonate with people that might help them take the next step towards a healthier life. I had Kiwi parents, you know, meat and three veg growing up. Mum always made home cooked meals. Very lucky, very blessed. Really, it was a few gradual steps that lead me to look more into what health and wellness meant for me and how I could control it, if we ever can.

The first sort of adventure, I guess you can call it, on the journey, was a borderline eating disorder through school, you know, the teenage pressures of being a young woman and trying to aspire to be, (and this is before social media days as well, so I can't imagine what it's like for young people these days), but trying to aspire to some sort of aesthetic whilst your own wellness is taking a backseat. And I managed to climb out of that, thankfully, but it taught me a new relationship with food that it was nourishment, not punishment. And I still live to that now. I don't count calories or fat grams and things like that.

For me, it's what feels good and that is what guides me so that was the first little step, I guess, to where I am now. And then there was a series of things like polycystic ovaries, which I think, in my own heart, was a result of that calorie restriction through my later teens that messed with my hormones, and then it presented itself as polycystic ovaries. And that led to fertility troubles. So my husband and I struggled along for a couple of years.  I eventually went and got help to get pregnant but again, all about those hormones and the internal just being a little bit out of whack. So my body was giving me signals even into my late 20s.

And then once Stella was born, thankfully, you know, we were blessed to be able to get pregnant and have her,  there was shingles, which is really, really common as well. I think one in 10 New Zealanders suffer from shingles. So again, the body going knock, knock, knock, you know, I need some attention here. So that led me into looking at anti-inflammatory foods, immune boosting foods, healing from within that I could really start to recognize what my body was trying to tell me and get to that sort of optimal level for me. It wasn't about looking at diets or fads or labels on anything. It was what felt good.

And then the next part to the journey was double foot surgery, which was the recovery of six weeks in bed. So literally six weeks, no weight bearing. And that time I was just on the laptop, the whole journey, just looking at, again, anti-inflammatory foods and healing foods. So instinctively, I went vegetarian during that time, because everything I was reading and listening to was that animal products were inflammatory and cause reactions in the body. So keeping that inflammation down was really key healing foods, Vitamin C's, lots of antioxidants, and I came out of it really, really well. Six weeks flew by. And that then gradually lead into becoming plant based. So that was over the span of about two years, Just gradually removing things that I genuinely felt didn't make me feel good. You know, it wasn't about what somebody else was doing but it was about listening to my own body. So that's how I am here. But the wheatgrass shots started in that healing process. I had a wheatgrass shot in that process of healing after my foot surgery and have continued since.

But I don't think unique in any respects either, that, I'm sure we all know someone that's had shingles, polycystic ovaries, fertility issues. But we're so busy. I think this is the problem. We're so busy and there's so much distraction that we can easily just push it down, and not necessarily listen until things do start crashing down.

And we're all about convenience. We want to be able to just grab a meal and run with it.

Yeah, and not think too much about it. It was almost like an incubation period to discover what was working, what I actually wanted, and how I could implement that daily, have a wheatgrass shot every day. It had to be convenient to implement each day for the long term.

Good Change

So even today, are you taking a little bit of that with you?

Sarah

It's figuring out what would fit into your daily life that's manageable and doesn't add an extra stress that you're like, “Oh my god, I have to do that breathing exercise that somebody told me to do to chill out”, because it just adds another thing to the list, right? So, whether it's getting up 20 minutes earlier, and just sitting, breathing, whatever is going to work for you, you’d know. A bit of yoga may be?

Good Change

And are you transferring a lot of those tools onto your daughter and your husband and your dog?

Sarah

I try to on my daughter.  She's eight and she's a busy girl. For her to sit and breathe is a challenge. So it's just small little bites she loves. I've got crystal singing bowls at home. She loves playing those. Even my drum. So I try not to force it onto her that it's relaxation time. I just let her weave it into natural movement and play. Because then it makes the everyday things become a little bit more conscious. I find as soon as you tell a child to do something, they feel like it's work and they kind of push back. So just implementing those things into her play. Or, if she's drawing it might be like “are you breathing from your belly?”…. Just little things.

I think for children, the dog, (well, she's her own creature), and my husband - I think he tries but he's a busy guy and works a lot.

Good Change

So is he plant based as well?

Sarah

Not 100%.  I'm the only person in my whole family that is and that's okay. Stella certainly isn't and a lot of people are surprised by that, that I haven't raised a plant based child. But that's for her to decide when she's ready and if she wants to. Stella doesn't eat enough. She loves her fruit but she doesn't eat enough vegetables for me to comfortably say that she'd be able to meet all her nutritional groups if she was to eliminate animal products. So that's really important to note as well that you can call yourself plant based or vegan but you can be still incredibly unhealthy if you're not meeting those nutritional main food groups. A lot of vegans just live on junk food and that's not the goal. It's about checking in with how food makes you feel and how it supplements your well-being and your happiness and your overall health. So, if I pulled out animal products from her diet, she would just be eating white rice, white pasta, so that's actually not fair on her either.

Good Change

And so you’re saying it's a lot about listening to your own body, which I think as an adult is probably an easier thing to do. What advice would you give for someone trying to teach their children to listen to their bodies?

Sarah

Yeah, because food is not so much about enjoyment for them necessarily as it does become as an adult. It's about family and entertaining and quality time together. It's a big integral part of that sort of energy as an adult. Whereas with a child it's ‘grab something and get on with playing or go back to our friends’. Probably the most powerful thing that we can do with our children is get them involved in the kitchen, so have them as part of the creation process  so then they can have an appreciation of what's gone into the meal and how it's come to be on the plate. Growing up I was a little bit in the kitchen, but more often than not, it was just Mum calling upstairs “dinners ready” and then we would come down and dinner was on the table. So it was really easy to just go “I don't want that”. I think if the child is in the kitchen with you for part of the process, whether it's even just chopping a couple of veggies or stirring the pot every now and then they have that sense of ownership of what's been created so more likely, hopefully fingers crossed, to have a bit more of an appreciation of what's there and enjoy it.

Good Change

What impact have the changes that you've made personally had on your overall mental state and health?

Sarah

Great question because that is something that is SO important to me. Whilst it's said that our gut talks to our ‘head brain’, the majority of our neurological cells are in our gut, actually, and up to 80% of our serotonin is produced in our gut, which has that feel good hormone, which actually makes us feel good. So when we look after the gut, then we're looking after the brain. So, it's just a direct link. To me, that makes perfect sense. We are what we eat, so if we're putting in rubbish and stuff that doesn't serve us, then that's going to present itself in our minds, which then comes out into our life experience.

So, food is, for me (I mean, I understand that there's chemical imbalances that people need prescription drugs and medication for at certain levels) but for that top level of mental health and wellbeing our first stop is what are we eating and drinking? I think that's the very first port of call to go, “what's going in that ends up creating this”? It's looking after that gut first and foremost, and I know it is at the forefront of information in terms of health and wellness experts or people that are really passionate about it, but it needs to be more mainstream. The probiotics, the prebiotics, looking after that gut health, fermented foods, sauerkrauts, kombuchas, all those things that are going to look after that garden, which then creates the flowers up in the mind.

Good Change

Maybe I've lived in a bubble. I did not know that. I’ve read a lot about gut health but….

Sarah

It's fascinating. If you can spend some time, there's a man called Dr. Zack Bush in America, who is a little bit controversial in some of his aspects but if you can look at his philosophy and his knowledge, he’s ‘triple board certified’ in the States of gut health in the correspondence of our own health, not only mental, but our whole life experience. It's really fascinating, but it just makes total sense. I remember when we were trying to conceive Stella and you'd (I don't know if you've struggled with fertility issues or had friends that have) become a little bit obsessed with the whole process and what happens first and what part of the baby grows first and this and that. Well, in human fetus’, the spinal cord and the gut are the first things to develop. The large intestine is the first thing that gets developed in a human fetus, so, it’s almost like the super brain of the human that gets developed first and then the rest of it follows. It's the epicenter of our being really. People say, “listen to your gut”, well, it's the gut that is always talking to us. And like we mentioned, the busier that we are, the easier it is to push that down and just be brain lead or mind lead.

Good Change

Sarah can you give us your top three anti-inflammatory foods as ‘go to’ foods that you would recommend?

Sarah

Turmeric is probably the number one. For anti-inflammatory I look to Ayurvedic principles which is the most ancient nutritional principle in the history of nutritional approaches. Ayurveda stems from India and it's working with our particular body makeup. We're all made up differently. We run hot. We run cold. Some of us have a more sluggish disposition. Some of us are more energetic so we are able to burn calories faster without even trying. So it's working with your body disposition and turmeric is a key ingredient in Ayurveda practices because it suits all body dispositions. The key with turmeric, whether you're having it in powder form, or fresh fruit is ideal or in a juice,  or in your recipes, your curries and things, is mixing it with black pepper and a little bit of an element of fat because that helps the absorbency. There’s a property in turmeric called Curcumin, which is the aspect of it that gives benefits. So, there's even a Curcumin supplement. So that's basically what it is. It's that portion of the turmeric that has the anti-inflammatory benefits.

Good Change

So if you were cooking dinner at night, and you've got oil and pepper in your frying pan, you could just grate a bit of turmeric and put it in with whatever else?

Sarah

Yeah, I mean, generally, if you're doing a curry dish, you're going to have salt and pepper in there which we generally add to our cooking and an element of fat too. So the fat could be a coconut cream as well. It doesn't need to be an oil. And also things like nuts and seeds that can be added onto the top. So just once it hits that digestive system it needs those other elements to be able to assimilate in the body better.

I was in Bali this time last year, and we did yoga every day, which was amazing. But, in a lot of the studios they had this drink called Jamu Tonic which is basically turmeric, ginger, black pepper. They sweeten these with honey so you don't need to add sweetener. So, look up Jamu recipes and that'll give you great ways to enjoy tumeric and juice.

Good Change

Sarah what would be your top tip for immune boosting?

Sarah

Well, this is a touchy subject right now, isn't it because I think it should be top of the news. I think it should be on the front page of every newspaper and the top story of every news headline is ‘How we can nurture our natural immune systems’ because we are incredible machines. We have an amazing immune system that knows what to do. We don't need to give it extra drugs and pharmaceuticals and things to try and boost it because nothing will replace Mother Nature effectively. It's a little bit tricky to say to boost our immune system. It's probably more accurate to say to support our immune system.

So there’s foods that are immune supporting -  your Vitamin Cs, sunlight. Vitamin D is so important and, this might sound controversial for some people but, unprotected as well. So, 10, 12 minutes unprotected, no sunscreen - not in peak time but so your skin is able to absorb vitamin D from the sunlight without any barriers. Vitamin E, so your essential fatty acids, nuts, seeds. If you eat seafood, then good quality seafoods, walks in nature, things that keep us chilled.

So, stress is a massively taxing thing on our immune systems. And unfortunately, over this last year, a lot of people have been really, really stressed and, often getting more sick, staying at home, sanitizing  everything, which is killing natural germs that we have on our hands, including bacteria that is good. When people look into Zach Bush, they'll see that we need bacteria. We are predominantly made up of bacteria. The world is bacteria. So, to think that we can eliminate it is not only short sighted, but actually detrimental to our immune systems. So, yes, you can sanitize, but make sure that you're not becoming phobic about germs because we do need them. And that's what probiotics are as well, they're bacteria. So, that should tell us, with reference to gut health, that we need bacteria for a healthy immune system.

Good Change

For listeners out there thinking, ‘Oh, this sounds like a whole lot, I can't do all that at the same time’, would it still be okay to just start with a wheatgrass shot?

Sarah

If you start your day off with the right intentions, it can often lead to the day carrying on that way. If we start off frenzied, stressed out, the kids aren't getting ready fast enough, you're late for work, late for school, your whole day just continues like that. Then you come home, pour the wine and you're just exhausted.

Good Change

So if you were to distill down into a few key things, maybe three good changes that you can make, obviously, the wheatgrass shot is a crucial one, what are another two things that people could be doing to try and transform their life?

Sarah

So, a bit of journaling or writing down on a piece of paper things that make you feel good. So that could be singing, it might be taking up a new hobby. It might be pottery or something completely random that you've put on the back burner because you're too busy, don't have time, or have got all of these other commitments. So it's sitting down and getting honest with yourself with what makes you feel good. It might be running. Exercise might not be your thing, but it is so crucial to our health and wellness, getting a good sweat on. So, you know, try a few different classes, see what works for you and has you coming out feeling really, really good, but it's actually putting ourselves first because then you’re better for  everyone else around you as well.

Good Change

So one thing that I always wonder about with when it comes to a holistic way of healing, is that there's a lot of greenwashing and it's the same in the holistic world because it is just not as monitored as Western medicine is. So how do you know when you're on to the real stuff versus someone trying to copy what you're doing and it's not actually doing any good? How do you know which ones are the real ones?

Sarah

That is tricky. It's again, going with your gut. I think if something is requiring an influencer campaign, or a huge marketing PR budget behind it, is that legit? I think each company or brand or product should have full transparency of the start to finish of the product,  with information on the grower of the food, how that grower is looked after, the farming practices, the soil health, (which again, Zack Bush, is a big, amazing inspiration and source of information about soil health and how it’s so crucial to our planetary health and our individual health - it's interlinked). So that traceability of the product. Because it's easy to get swayed. I've done it plenty of times by beautiful packaging or a gorgeous face behind it, and you think, ‘wow, it must be amazing’. And then to be let down, or see the ingredients list when it arrives. So if we're talking specifically with health and wellness products or food, it's keeping those ingredients lists to a bare minimum. And, you should be able to recognize each thing that's in it. And if not, then it should come from a natural source. If things start getting too man made, then we're getting into that processed, artificial sort of zone, which then we have to question how our body will assimilate and use that AND is it beneficial? Or are we better just to eat the carrot?

Good Change

Those are great tips. And do you know what's amazing is the fact that you've been through this incredible health journey, and you've actually listened to your body. And you've made those changes, because a lot of people probably wouldn't go that far. But I think that your journey has been an amazing starting point for you to make those changes. And you've also followed a mantra that we follow in our business. And that is all about making small changes. So, it’s incremental changes that build up into something a little bit more robust.

Sarah

Yeah well, then you're more likely to stick to it. I think it's the whole ‘kit and caboodle’ right from the get go. It’s like when people do ‘no drinking for a month’ or something, and then they can't wait to get to the drink. It's too much too quick. So it's being really gentle with yourself, checking in, and that is going to lead to long term change, whether you're trying to be more eco or look at brands and products that you know are more sustainable. It's gradual, and then that's going to be easier to stick to in the long term.

Good Change

Absolutely. I think we've got some great tips. I think there's definitely some things I'm going to start straight away so we don't have to spend six weeks in bed at some stage later in our lives!

------------------

You can learn more about Sarah Tanner on her

instagram: @sarahtannernz

website: www.supernature.co.nz

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered